THE MARRIAGE OF SENSE AND SOUL by Ken Wilber

THE MARRIAGE OF SENSE AND SOUL

Integrating Science and Religion
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Yet another unsuccessful attempt to integrate all of science and all of religion in one Grand Unified Theory. Wilber has attempted before to wed the warring camps of science and religion (A Brief History of Everything; not reviewed; Up From Eden: A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution, 1981; etc.). Here he claims that science is one of the “major differentiations of modernity” that have shattered a previously unified worldview in which all disciplines worked together in the same search for meaning. Today, he says, truth and meaning are distinct; science can provide the former, but religion is necessary to confer the latter. Wilber writes that we need to “integrate the Great Chain [of being] with the major differentiations of modernity,” including science. Fair enough, but he never really explains how this is supposed to occur. Blithely brushing aside centuries-old epistemological dilemmas about how we can know the world, Wilber claims that the empirical methods of science can be applied to mental and spiritual experience. The words —experience,— —knowledge,— and —empirical— seem to be equated in Wilber’s loose arguments. As for religion, he considers it in terms of —function,— devoid of specific contents, such as the belief that the Red Sea parted for the Israelites or in the virgin birth of Jesus. He never truly defines what he means by religion, which he inexplicably, continually refers to as “premodern.” So, too, scientists may quibble with Wilber’s vague generalizations about “the scientific method.” What kind of science? What types of religion? Wilber’s lack of specificity makes this book an exercise in theoretical, purely academic navel-gazing. This fusion of science and religion fails to take either discipline seriously as multifaceted, complex sets of meaning. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-375-50054-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998